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Writing Persuasively
A local business wants to start a puppy farm.

Writing Persuasively

Writing persuasively is about convincing others to your way of thinking.

'People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found out by others.' Blaise Pascal, 17th-century French mathematician, physicist, inventor and philosopher.

This quote from Pascal illustrates why the art of persuasive writing can be so difficult to master. No one likes to be thought of as easily persuadable. And yet so many writing tasks require the ability to persuade others.

This quiz tests your knowledge of the techniques and skills used in this form of writing.

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1.
What is the purpose of persuasive writing?
To change someone's mind on an issue
To present a balanced and unbiased view of an issue
To inform
To bring a scene to life by appealing to the senses
2.
Which of the following forms would NOT be suitable for persuasive writing?
A newspaper editorial
A speech
An online encyclopaedia entry
A letter
Even online, an encyclopaedia entry will be written purely to inform
3.
What is the difference between writing to argue and writing to persuade?
Writing to argue should be emotional; writing to persuade should be dispassionate
Writing to argue presents each side of an argument; writing to persuade can be more one-sided
Writing to argue allows you to be more biased; writing to persuade should be balanced
There are no differences; they are both the same
You will still need to support your view, otherwise how can you change anyone's mind?  You might also have to present the opposing point of view and prove that it's not correct.  You do not, however, have to be as balanced and fair as if you are presenting an argument
4.
When writing to persuade, you may express...
emotion
opinions
bias
All of the above
5.
What might happen if you do not consider the needs of your audience?
Your audience will be less likely to be engaged or be persuaded to change their minds
Your audience will rebel against you
Your audience will certainly change their minds
You will be sent to see the headteacher
Try to anticipate the needs, wishes or beliefs of your audience - make an emotional connection with them
6.
How does using an anecdote make your writing more effective and, therefore, persuasive?
It can provide the audience with impartial information
It can make you seem likeable, trustworthy, and even similar to your audience
It balances out your argument by presenting the opposing case
It makes you seem authoritative
We all know from personal experience that we are more likely to change our minds if listening to someone we trust (did you spot the 'we all know from personal experience'?  This is a common persuasive technique)
7.
What should be included in the introduction to a piece of persuasive writing?
A joke
A list of all your qualifications
A brief autobiography
A clear statement of the view with which you would like the audience to agree
You will also need to reiterate this in your conclusion.  You wouldn't want your audience to forget!
8.
What does it mean to 'appeal to reason'?
To exclude emotive language from your writing
To support your points with evidence
To build your arguments logically while recognising your audience as logical people
To appeal to a shared sense of morality
You might also try an 'appeal to character' or an 'appeal to emotion'
9.
Which of the following exam questions requires a piece of persuasive writing in answer?
A local business wants to start a puppy farm. Write a speech opposing their planning application
Write a magazine article to inform readers about a recent 'reading challenge' at your school
Write an article reviewing a new local restaurant
Describe the scene in a city centre on a hot summer's day
10.
Given the answer to question nine, who would be your audience?
Only people who care about animals
Only teenagers
Only business people
A wide range of local residents, workers and business people
Sometimes your audience is general and you will need to consider how best to appeal to everyone
Author:  Sheri Smith

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